Assessing the Difficulty of the Opening 5 Matches for Serie A's Biggest Clubs

Cristiano Ronaldo
Juventus won their ninth successive title last season | Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

The common perception of Italy is that the people who live there are so laid back, they're almost horizontal. Time waits for every man, and if a crucial deadline is fast approaching - don't worry about it! It's not a real line.

This stereotype of course, is nothing more than that. A simple stereotype.

Where Are You Waiting GIF by SWR Kindernetz - Find & Share on GIPHY

In other news, Serie A has released the calendar for the 2020/21 season, just under three weeks before the campaign is set to start. What's the rush? At least it's been done! And it's delayed announcement only adds to the anticipation for the new season, as calcio fans all over the world begin to salivate at the prospect of another exciting year at the top of Italian football.

But what exactly did the fixture list tell us, and how many points will each team pick up from their opening five matches? 90min assesses the Serie A calendar, and predicts just how Italy's top clubs will fare at the beginning of the new season.

Juventus

Fixtures & Predictions:

Sampdoria (H) - Win

Roma (A) - Draw

Napoli (H) - Draw

Crotone (A) - Win

Hellas Verona (H) - Win

Debuting boss Andrea Pirlo will be slightly cautious over the beginning to his Juventus reign. A curtain raiser with stubborn opposition Sampdoria awaits the Italian boss, before a gruelling double header against Roma and Napoli provides their first major tests of the season.

Both I Giallorossi and I Partenopei will fancy their chances against this new-look Juve, and Pirlo will be desperate for two positive results to throw down the gauntlet to the rest of Italy. A trip to Crotone and a home tie with Hellas Verona complete the opening five fixtures, and there can be no excuses should I BIanconeri fail to claim six points there. How's your nerve, Andrea?

Points Prediction: 11

Inter

Fixtures & Predictions:

Benevento (A) - Win

Fiorentina (H) - Win

Lazio (A) - Draw

Milan (H) - Win

Genoa (A) - Draw

The Serie A calendar will have come as a relief to Nerazzurri supporters, following a turbulent summer of uncertainty. Lautaro Martinez's future at the club has been a giant question mark for a number of months, but Antonio Conte's sudden implosion cast that rumour into the shadows. But with the new campaign only weeks away, all seems to have settled down once again in Milan.

Conte will be confident of comfortably earning six points from their opening two clashes with newly-promoted Benevento and a rather soft Fiorentina, but yet again, week three has thrown up a proper humdinger. A trip to Rome to take on Lazio awaits Conte, followed by the Derby della Madonnina (that's the Milan derby to me and you). A tough trip to Genoa rounds up the opening section of the season, with Inter hoping to forge any sort of head-start on their fellow title rivals. It won't be easy though...

Points Prediction: 11

Atalanta

Fixtures & Predictions:

Lazio (A) - Loss

Torino (A) - Win

Cagliari (H) - Win

Napoli (A) - Draw

Sampdoria (H) - Win

It was a record-breaking season for Atalanta last year, but it all ended with a bit of a whimper. La Dea tailed off in Serie A, when their form of old could have easily seen them topple eventual champions Juve, while they suffered last-minute heartbreak in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain.

Gian Piero Gasperini will be hoping that particular slump is out of their system for the maiden voyage to Rome, but Lazio will fancy their chances to strike while the iron is hot and morale is low. Atalanta hit seven the last time they faced Torino, and shouldn't find too many problems against Cagliari, either. But matchday four sees them take on Napoli at San Paolo, and that could prove to be a real battle of heart and wits. Sampdoria must be fearing the worst then, that they could be on the receiving end of a revenge hammering from the Goddess.

Points Prediction: 10

Lazio

Fixtures & Predictions:

Atalanta (H) - Win

Cagliari (A) - Win

Inter (H) - Draw

Sampdoria (A) - Win

Bologna (H) - Draw

Another team who failed to maintain their scintillating form after Serie A's re-start in June, Lazio will be hoping to build on last year's (almost) heroics. Coach Simone Inzaghi will have circled matchdays one and three as key fixtures in their push for a title challenge, as they welcome both Atalanta and Inter to the Olimpico.

Neither game will be straight forward, although they should find more joy in their travels to Cagliari and Sampdoria, before entertaining an inconsistent Bologna in the final of the five. This Lazio team has been known to suffer the odd slip-up at times though, so maybe keep an eye out for Sinisa Mihajlovic's return to the Italian capital with Bologna.

Points Prediction: 11

AS Roma

Fixtures & Predictions:

Hellas Verona (A) - Win

Juventus (H) - Draw

Udinese (A) - Draw

Benevento (H) - Win

Milan (A) - Loss

AS Roma will be hoping that their drop out of the Champions League places is only a temporary blip, but approaching their second season in the Europa League, the size of their task only continues to grow. Paulo Fonseca will be confident of kicking off with a win at Verona, before the lip-smacking challenge of upsetting champions Juventus.

A trip to Udinese has become simpler in recent years (although this is Roma we're talking about), and I Giallorossi will expect nothing less than a victory over Benevento at the Olimpico. Last season's away match at Milan saw Fonseca's side fall to a 2-0 defeat at San Siro, and there will be more hope than expectation for a better outcome in September.

Points Prediction: 8

Milan

Fixtures & Predictions:

Bologna (H) - Win

Crotone (A) - Win

Spezia (H) - Win

Inter (A) - Loss

Roma (H) - Win

Milan have been one of the in-form teams in Serie A since the turn of the year, and their impressive rise under Stefano Pioli saw the Ralf Rangnick revolution shelved for the time being. If anyone has earned the reward of an easy first three games then, it's probably the current Milan coach.

I Rossoneri will be demanding nine points from their opening trio of fixtures, before taking on Conte and Inter. It might be close, but I Nerazzurri may have the edge coming into this massive derby. As mentioned before, Milan then welcome Roma to the economic capital, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the boys will back themselves to repeat their impressive victory in June.

Points Prediction: 12

Napoli

Gennaro Gattuso
Gattuso leads training with his Napoli players | Danilo Di Giovanni/Getty Images

Fixtures & Predictions:

Parma (A) - Draw

Genoa (H) - Win

Juventus (A) - Draw

Atalanta (H) - Draw

Benevento (A) - Win

In Parma, Genoa and Benevento, Napoli should stock up a confidence-boosting nine points. Should. Parma could prove to be a tough opening-day opponent, but without last year's talisman Dejan Kulusevski, I Crociati may lack that craft required to unsettle Gennaro Gattuso's men.

Sandwiched in between those potential freebies is the small task of squaring up to Juventus and Atalanta. With neither side at their imperious best (as it stands), and Napoli riding the crest of a Coppa Italia-winning wave, Dries Mertens and co. may just smell blood. They'd take two draws from that pair of tests and an unbeaten start to the campaign though, that's for sure.

Points Prediction: 9